#METC13 Part 2…

Here is a continuation of my previous post.  Enjoy!

I forgot to add this under my session with Shelly Terrell.  She likes to play music to enhance the writing process and this is a site which plays music based on what mood you want to hear.  Very interesting!  Moodstream also puts up pictures to go with the music.

3rd Session: Ben Grey

Since  the school where I teach is integrating 1:1 iPads in 7th and 8th grade, I did attend a session on this topic.  Ben Grey presented on some of the ways to best start this process.

He recommended checking out Project Red.  There is a wealth of information here about research in Education.  I used the site a little bit.  It has webinars, financial information, and implementation resources.

Ben’s school district site is here.

4th Session: Josh Stumpenhorst

This session was on Project Based Learning or as he got into explaining-“Passion Based Learning”.  I enjoyed the first video he showed titled “Life after Death by Powerpoint”  A funny reminder of how NOT to do a powerpoint and how to better instruct our students in learning good presentation skills.

Students have the ability and want to create passionately.  Are we letting them do this?  Josh mentioned a few ideas that are worth passing on:

  1. Innovate Day- Students have a day to come and just create something.  They might have a passion to play guitar, build a game, or explore physics.  Letting them do this.
  2. Passion Projects- Giving students set aside time to work on something they choose to learn more about.
  3. The book “Drive” by Daniel Pink.

Last Session:  Ken Shelton

His session was about Information Literacy.  How teaching students to be good consumers of information and how to best process through the massive amounts of  information to find what they need can help them to be successful.  I am currently implementing some of these ideas in my reading class as we research some of the settings in our next Literature book.

Google Search Operators:  Using search operators can help you cut down on time.  I am familiar with some of these, but learned some new ones in the process.  Also, using the advanced search feature cuts down on unwanted search results.

Also, I did not know that when you do a regular search in Google you can use + or – signs to eliminate or add words to  narrow your search results.  Definitely going to try that one!

Also another thing I often forget about Google search is adding the file type to the end of your search query can lead you right to what you want.  This would apply if you were looking for a specific type of document like a PDF.

Google Search Stories:  These are great!  Showing these to students could help them see a different way to search.  It could also help them in their own search experience.  How the answer to one question, can lead to another question and ultimately to the answer they are looking for.  Great discussion pieces as well!

Whois.net  This is a great resource to find out who owns a website.  This could definitely be useful for teaching students about credible websites.

This pretty much sums up my experience this year at #METC13 !  Looking forward to next time!



#METC13 Takeaways Part 1…

I had the opportunity to once again attend the Midwest Educational Tech. Conference .  I learned many new things in the one day I attended.  Here are some of the resources I want to pass on to you!

Keynote: Lucy Grey

She shared many ideas on how the world is embracing new technologies and how that is also important in education.  Part of her presentation was on the design of learning spaces can have a direct impact on the learner and the learning.  She gave many ideas on how to be more globally minded and places to look for improving as an educator and being more informed.  Here resources for all her presentations can be found here: www.lucygray.org

1st Session: Shelly Terrell

Shelly Terrell gave great ideas on writing and how to help students expand their writing and become better writers.  A lot of the ideas were centered around technology and how to integrate tools and websites into the classroom.  I found some great takeaways from this session.  Here are my top few:

  1. Have students create an ABC story using a voice recorder.  Students would start the recorder on an iPad or other mobile device.  The first student starts with “A” adding the first part of the story.  He/She passes to the next student who continues the story with “B” and so on until the story is complete–“A to Z”.
  2. Word Cloud stories.  The teacher would use Wordle (or another word cloud generator) to create a story word cloud.  This could come from a newspaper article, story, or their own work.  The students only see the word cloud.  They have to write a story to fill in the blanks.
  3. 100 word stories.  Students create stories that are only 100 words long
I really think that I will have no trouble incorporating these ideas and many of the other ideas I found from this session.  More ideas can be found here: Slideshare and Notes (Copy to your own document to make any changes)
2nd Session: Bill Bass
There were two things I took away from this session.
  1. Students creating can unlock so much learning
  2. Mozilla Popcorn  website  I can’t wait to try more on this site!  It is an awesome way to present information.
More information on this presentation can be found here!


After a while…

Well. here goes!  I have been “out of commission” so to speak since my last post.  There are many reasons for this.  The main one was what I would like to call a “refresh”.  I needed to evaluate where I was going and what I was doing.  In that process, many things got moved, discarded, and put on hold.  So, now after many months of not posting here, I am finally ready to start up again.  Happy learning!

Isle of Tune

This site is very cool!  You can create music by placing roads, flowers, trees, houses, lamp posts, etc.  in patterns around your isle.  You can then edit the elements to make different sounds, tones, and beats.  There are already created isles that you can view.  Some are simple and others are very elaborate.  There are features to report any inappropriate songs, pictures, or offensive material.  All the isles I visited were appropriate and very well done!  I am planning on using this as part of a note and rhythm unit.  I would say that it might be appropriate for students 3rd and up.  Although depending on the class, you could use it with younger groups.  Great project for music students!

I have recently discovered this site through an ISTE special interest group newsletter. Maybe you already use this site. Maybe this will be new to you too. I hope you enjoy this site, I think I will find it useful in my Music classes next year. However, I think it could prove to be useful in other areas as well. I am still coming up with some ides for it, but wanted to pass it along anyway.


Please share any ideas you might want to pass along!

My phone…

Recently, I got a new smartphone.   An iPhone.   Getting a new device is always fun and exciting.  However, I can really say that it has helped me function better.  It has apps that make my day to day functions better.  For example, I use apps to check the weather, my phone bill, my grocery list, my email, and of course my social networks!  It has apps for my exercise routing and it functions as my source for music.  It also is used by my son to keep him busy when we have to wait at the doctor’s office.

It can access the Internet when I need to get information on the latest St. Louis Cardinal baseball game.  I can use it as a GPS and map out the route to my grandma’s house.  I have used it as a timer, calculator, compass, and pedometer.  I have even downloaded books on to it.

It makes me think, too!  We have students who use their phone as their “mode of transportation” in the digital world.  This small device connects them.  It connects me.  Can we harness this and use this connecting device in the world of teaching today?  1:1 computing has been a discussion for some time now.  I am not sure when this will become mainstream, but I believe it is coming.

When I first started teaching, I don’t recall this possibility being discussed.  Now it’s not how, it’s when.  As I learn more and experience more I realize that we are living in a world that is more connected than ever before.  We as teachers need to be ready and realize that our students are ready.

Cha- Cha- Cha- Changes…

Wow! Time flies!  I have been busy this last year away from my blog.  I have taken on more technology duties at school, which I love!  My husband and I have added to our family.  Very exciting, yet makes us even busier!  I am also in the final stretch of finishing my Masters degree.  SO…. needless to say this was not always on the top of my list.  My goal is to start posting here again more regularly.

Okay, now onto my thought sorting.  This past week I had the opportunity to attend a conference with my fellow Lutheran educators for our national conference.  As a teacher who uses quite a bit of technology, I see it as an important part of our schools.  I see its value.  I can envision the future of where it can take our students.  I can see the big picture of how technology is being used in our world and in education.  I have been to quite a few technology conferences where hearing this vision being shared and sharing this vision with others is very comfortable for me. I am glad that some of this vision was making it’s way to the Lutheran teachers conference I attended.   While, I think we still have a long way to come, we are still moving forward.

While I was listening to Leonard Sweet, I felt very inspired as an educator to make my students more a part of the big picture.  I want them to enjoy learning and to strive for greatness.  I want them to be lifelong learners.  I want to be a lifelong learner and strive for greatness.  I know technology can help us to do just that.  Technology alone cannot do this.  We need teachers who can use the technology to accomplish these things.

As Leonard was speaking, he shared a video with the audience.  Changing Education Paradigms.  In the video Sir Ken Robinson gave a great illustration of how we expect students to sit and listen to “boring” lessons/ lectures.  Then they can go home, connect, and learn in more “exciting” ways with technology.  By making a shift to using technology we can reach the students of today.  I realize and repeat it often that it is not the technology, but the one who uses it that is effective.  I heard once, and I don’t know where, that “Technology will not replace teachers.  But teachers who don’t use technology will be replaced by ones who do.”  It is not a phase and it is not going away.

While listening I kept thinking of another video- Did you know.   I love this video and it always gets me to think.  It illustrates the shift that has taken place in our world.  The changes that continue to take place.  The changing will always be there.

To wrap it up, I was very pleased to see that in our “small” Lutheran world connections are happening more and more.  I am also happy to see that through those connections we can gain more for teaching our students.  I am looking forward to making more connections in the future and using all that I learn to educate the future!

Quick update…

I was recently asked to be a writer on the Lutheran Educators Guild Blog.  I jumped at the opportunity!  So far I have posted twice.  I am looking forward to more in the future.  I also look forward to posting more here as well.

Here is the link: http://lutheraneducators.com/ You will not be disappointed.  While the title indicates it is Lutheran, there is more there than just for Lutheran teachers.  Would love to know what you think!  Happy reading!

One year and counting…

Well,  this time of year marks my 1 year anniversary in the world of social networking and Web 2.0 collaboration…Woo Hoo!  I can honestly say that I have learned a lot!  More than most conferences and teacher workshops.  I have  felt that I am someone who is not afraid of technology.  I was always using Google to search for new information for my students and resources for finding out about new things.  I checked my email regularly, periodically checked in on Facebook and so on.  Boy was my world shifted when I realized what else the web had to offer!

Twitter is my personal favorite.  I have learned the most from my PLN (professional learning network) here.  I have bookmarked so many resources, I feel I need to hire a personal organizer just to keep up with the mess of websites!

This leads me to my next favorite which is Diigo.   It allows me the freedom to bookmark at home and use at school!  LOVE IT!  I can also share my resources with my fellow Lutheran Educators through the groups feature here.  If you’re a Lutheran Educator, look for us!

And third, my Google Mobile App for my Blackberry.  I discovered it when checking out the Google page for other Google tools.  (Go to Google, at the top click on More and Even More.  Look for Mobile)  I can read my Google Reader feed right on my Blackberry.  This feature has allowed me the freedom to keep up with my RSS feed.  Something I thought I would never accomplish.

It’s amazing to look back and realize all the many things that I have learned.  So, here’s my thought for today–What have you learned lately?  When is the last time you tried something new in your classroom?  Are you doing the same thing or are you changing it up?

Our students are different.  They learn differently than the ones a year ago.  They learn differently than the ones 5 years ago.  How are you helping them learn?  Are you learning yourself or are you the same as you were a year ago?

The Winter Doldrums…

Here it is!  The Winter Doldrums have arrived in my classroom.  We are through with all the Holiday projects.  Now I am searching for something to keep us motivated on these cold, yucky days of Southern IL winter.  It’s all fun and games when we get a snow day, but to just have cold that is the worst.  Blessed are you who have weather above 40 degrees.  As for those of you who have colder temperatures than us “southerner”, I guess I’ll take what I can get.

Anyway… about a year ago I found two very exciting places to go for collaboration and projects to get me through some of the days when we just need to “spice it up”.



There are so many good ideas here for teachers who teach technology like me.  Or for those of you in a “regular” classroom, there are ways to integrate tech into your lessons.  I try to frequent these two sites somewhat regularly.  One suggestion I have is to visit the forums and just scan some of what others are posting here.  I have picked up ideas, resources, and information I can use in my classroom immediately.  Some of the projects are very easy to integrate and can be used as a whole or in parts.  There are also some wonderful people who contribute and there is usually someone willing to collaborate on different projects.  Happy browsing!

End of the year…

Whew!  Do you find yourself saying that too?  I have to admit that this last year really did me in.  Coursework, adding more to my work load, and the normal day to day routine has really had my head spinning.  I have to come to realize that I just can not do it all when I want to!  How unfair, right?  Well, I will be the first to admit that information/life/work overload can really do it to you.  I had better intentions of reading more…blogging more…keeping up with my social networks more…just more.  Well, here I am at the end of the year and I did not do that.  So here it comes, the resolution right? Wrong.  I have decided not to try and do more this year but to just be.  In this ever-changing technology world we live in it is hard to keep up.  There comes a point when we just need to take time out for a real book and step away from the Google reader.  There’s just something nostalgic about turning the pages in a book.  I am going to try my best and be the best I can be however, I think that I will do so without the unreachable expectations of keeping up.  I will change my RSS feed so that it doesn’t tell me how many unread feeds I have.  So here’s to a new year without the expectation of “keeping up”.

Adding to this past year of craziness was the addition of a SMART board to my classroom.  While I love its many uses and the way it involves my students, I am often overwhelmed as to what I want to do with it.  So here is a place I like to go for help and questions:  http://smartboardrevolution.ning.com

There is really so much on this site that I haven’t even scratched the surface in what the people there have to offer.  Super resources and help!

On a side note, I do hope to post here more often.  I feel my role as an educator changing a bit to involve more teacher educating as well as student.  So I hope to change things a bit to include more resources for you.  Have a wonderful start to the new year!